By Mary Gynn - Diabetes Educator
Let me start with the reminder that Diabetes affects 25.8 million people. Those diagnosed are 18.8 million people and undiagnosed total 7.0 mil-lion people. Unfortunately, both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are affecting the younger generation, as well, the numbers being a staggering 215,000. (Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlantic, GA. www,cdc.com). Prediabetes and diabetes are now officially listed as an epidemic in the US. And, the numbers are growing.
An epidemic? This is 2018. Ironically, diabetes was first described in an Egyptian manuscript from 1500 BC and the first cases were described by Indian physicians in 400-500 AD identified as Type 1 and Type 2. Then in 1776, a Dr. Matthew Dobson con-firmed an excess of a kind of sugar in the urine. (Dobson,M. 1776, Medical Observations and Inquiries 5:298-3Is it the 10). And in 1889, it was found that dogs whose pancreas was removed developed all the signs and symptoms of diabetes.
So, considering these very early discoveries, why are we dealing today with Diabetes now an epidemic? Shouldn't the disease have been either controlled or eliminated all these years later?
Does "It", the epidemic, have some-thing to do with the following questions? I ask:
• Is it lack of community health and diabetes education?
• Is it the abundance available and consumption of processed foods?
• Is it lack of Americans knowing the existence of a gene somewhere in their ancestry that they may have inherited predisposing them to diabetes? Do most Americans have any idea of what a genetic inheritance (aka genome sequence) is? And all the variety of genes we all have predisposing us to health issues?
• Is it because the majority of Americans are addicted to sugar and sugar is present in practically all our food? And, why is sugar in all of our food?
• Is it the growing numbers of people who don't want to adapt a healthy life-style either early on or when diagnosed with a blood test they have prediabetes?
• Is it because people aren't aware of their predisposition to the disease and have no knowledge of the metabolic syndrome?
• Is it because Americans who if they do have some pre-diabetes symptoms just want a quick-fix pill to avoid facing reality and say nothing to or deny any symptoms to their physician?
• Is it due to the insidious development of overweight and/or the obesity epidemic?
• Is it in anyway connected to the in-activity or a "sitting" population in to-day's America?
• Is it connected to stress in our lives in today's stressful world that we do nothing about?
• Is it the multitude of pills or insulin pre-diabetics and diabetics ingest and inject and think they are the "cure"?
• Is it the lack of diabetics not knowing how to self-manage their own dis-ease resulting in permanent sugar control?
• Is it pre-diabetics and diabetics have no desire to self-manage or fearful of taking control of their disease?
In my years of being a registered nurse and diabetes educator, I could go on and on identifying the multitude of questions. They help me arrange my diabetes self-management education programs and discuss your answers to the above questions. Your answers assist my effort to understanding why we now have a diabetes epidemic.
Mary Gynn, RN, MSN/MS, MPH, CDE